Friday, May 23, 2008

Palio, Tunbridge Wells

84 - 86 Grosvenor Road,
Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2AS map

We walk past Palio just about every time we go into Tunbridge Wells, yet it's taken us about a year to actually walk through the door.

The restaurant itself is very bright and airy and we got a friendly welcome as we entered and were shown to a table.

The menu is pretty good, with quite a few veggie options on the starters and pasta menus. They also have a pizza menu available at certain times. For starters, I had Vegetali al Forno, described as oven roasted vegetables drizzled with mint flavoured extra virgin olive oil. The dish consisted of peppers, fennel, courgette, globe artichoke, aubergine and provolone cheese. It was very nice. The artichokes, especially, had a lovely flavour and, for me, an antipasti like this is a perfect start to an Italian meal.

My wife chose a starter of Melanzane Parmagiana of which I had a taste. Now, this is one of my favourite dishes - the best I've had was at Trattoria Bagutta in Milan, so I'm a bit fussy when it comes to this dish. Palio's version was okay, but nothing special. It was obviously cut from a larger dish and tasted a bit bland.

For main course my wife had Pollo Alla Griglia, which was grilled chicken breast served on a large musgroom. The menu noted that the chicken was free-range, which was good to see. My wife said that, again, it was okay. The sauteed potatoes that were served with the chicken were very nice, tasting quite strongly of garlic.

My main course was Crespolini, spinach, ricotta and parmesan pancakes in a tomato and bechamel sauce. It arrived a the table impossibly hot, but once it cooled down, it was a quite pleasant dish, and the aforementioned potatoes did a very good job of mopping up the last of the sauce.

The portions at Palio are very generous - the vegetables I had to start could easily serve two wih some accompanying bread - and the prices are fairly reasonable. The service we had was very friendly and professional, which made a fairly regular meal that little bit better. We were discussing on the way home how much difference good or bad service can make to a meal, and we both agreed that the service at Palio made the difference for us to add it to our "one to go back to" list.

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